August 27, 2015

In the first ever India-Palestine theatre collaboration, The Freedom Theatre will join forces with the legendary street theatre group Jana Natya Manch (Janam), for a three-month residency in India. Intensive workshops involving The Freedom Theatre’s students and some of India’s foremost theatre experts will result in a unique theatre production, telling stories of freedom and resistance from both nations, that will tour India and Palestine.

In order to see this Freedom Jatha through, we need your help.

The project is entirely funded by individual contributions, and to fund it we have launched a crowdfunding campaign with exclusive gifts, designed by one of India’s foremost visual artists, Orijit Sen. Read more and support the project.

“This is truly people-to-people contact, rather artist-to-artist. They sought us out, and we sought them out because we found inspiration in each other’s work. This is third-world talking to third-world, without the first-world telling us who to talk to, or what to talk about.” Sudhanva Deshpande, Jana Natya Manch.


This south-south solidarity project will not only be the first joint India-Palestine theatre production but also the largest cultural exchange between the two countries, involving hundreds of individuals, ranging from world-renowned artists to students and factory workers, contributing thousands of hours in-kind. Dozens of cultural organisations and individuals have endorsed the initiative.

“Sometimes the most difficult experiences are what bind us together. Janam and The Freedom Theatre have suffered the loss of friends as a consequence of intolerance; we are connected by experiences of resisting oppression in search of freedom. The oak of colonialism and the steadfast resistance against it connect our histories. India has liberated itself from colonialism but is facing new forms of intolerance, injustice and oppression. Palestine is still struggling to achieve independence. We hope this initiative will be the beginning of a colourful, cultural collaboration between India and Palestine, uniting our struggles for justice, equality and freedom through art.” Jonatan Stanczak, The Freedom Theatre

In November 2015, eight students and artists from The Freedom Theatre will arrive in India for training and rehearsals in Delhi. Indian theatre workers will train The Freedom Theatre’s students in voice, movement and theatre techniques. In the evenings, Janam and The Freedom Theatre will rehearse a theatre production that will focus on stories that unite us. Through December 2015 and January 2016 the production will tour in India, with a total of over 30 performances and events involving local artists, dancers, musicians and writers. In April 2016, Janam will visit Palestine and the joint production will be performed at The Freedom Theatre and other locations in the West Bank. A documentary film and a book will also be made about this historic collaboration.

Read more:
Two nations, one stage
Act of activism
Stories of freedom and resistance
Indo-Palestine theatre collaboration to come alive this winter
Finding refuge in an audience
Why Ipta matters
Performing freedom
Palestine’s Intifada: the process of liberation is irresistible
Palestine’s Freedom Theatre is coming to India
How to fight intolerance with culture